Ernesto Mitchell makes music visual
Ernesto Mitchell

For principal and chief music video director at Xtreme Arts, Ernesto Mitchell, what started as a trial turned into a successful venture that made him one of the most sought after in his field among dancehall and reggae acts.

“This was never planned, it wasn't something I always wanted to do. My brother and I are music producers first, so we were mainly focused on that. There came a point where we needed music videos to be shot for some of our original songs, and we recognised that we were lacking in that area. I already had a passion for it, (so) I gave it a try and ended up loving it. I can safely say that I've gained the ultimate career from that decision,” Mitchell told the Jamaica Observer.

The 33-year-old has worked with a slew of artistes since he founded Xtreme Arts in 2011, thanks to inspiration from his father. Some of his noted works include Shenseea and Tarrus Riley's Lighter, Teejay's Rags to Riches, Protoje and Koffee's Switch It Up, and Spice's Cool It and Frenz.

Mitchell is a graduate of the New York Film Academy where he earned a diploma in video productions. He hails from Cooreville Gardens in St Andrew.

“My inspiration comes greatly from my dad, he was the one that gave me my first camera to play around with. It's important to explore the interests of children, you never know the paths that linger in their minds waiting to be explored,” he said.

“I [also] gained some of my experiences from being on several music video sets in the past but majority of my knowledge was self taught,” Mitchell continued.

In such a competitive arena, the Xtreme Arts founder says his brand, and style hold considerable weight.

“What separates Xtreme Arts from its competitors is the quality of our video productions, our concepts and edits; all of which makes us stand out from the rest. My style of shooting is different in many ways, mainly through adding my own personal touch,” he added, pointing to Switch It Up video as his favourite so far.

The director believes that artistes should invest in music videos to yield the highest level of success for their tracks.

“It enhances the video and brings the music to life, giving an interactive approach for the viewers. Releasing a music video to a song will make a song have more reach to viewers through emotions and can even push the song to higher heights,” Mitchell stated.

Though he faces multiple challenges in executing his productions, Mitchell has found ways to combat them.

“The overall planning from conception to production of an idea into a music video can be very challenging. Majority of the challenges that we face comes through finding appropriate locations and talents to suit each video. Bringing an artiste's idea to life can also be difficult as a lot of them are quite specific in how they want the video to come out. Nonetheless, as a team, we're always brainstorming. This allows us to keep pushing to get the desired results for each client,” he told the Observer.

Mitchell, who has recorded songs as Deejay X, has encouraging words for budding music video directors.

“Never give up. I started off with a budget camera. Once you have an interest, don't neglect your vision and dreams,” he said.

BY KEDIESHA PERRY Observer writer

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